I push open the door, slowly.
It seems dark inside and quiet, and somehow holy.
I hope that it is holy – for it is You I seek.
My fingers tremble on the frame.
My eyes strain to see, my ears to hear.
All is quiet and dark.
But still … that faint sense of the holy keeps me here.
‘Please come,’ I whisper.
‘Please come.’ I hear in reply.
It seems that we are each yearning for a meeting across a void.
My spirit does not quite know how to come.
Your Spirit must be patient until I find the way.
It is not mine to span the distance,
You have already done so.
But I do need to bring myself to the meeting,
And I am so scattered that it takes some time to pull myself together.
I call to my Hope as a first and willing recruit, and she comes, hand in hand with my Faith – they are inseparable. They stand upon the threshold and, looking back into the depths of my heart, they call to my Fear.
‘Love casts out all fear,’ my Fear replies, resentful and recalcitrant, ‘I am not welcome there.’ But Hope and Faith only look at each other and smile. They return to Fear’s side and reaching down, each take a hand. ‘Come and see,’ is all they say, and trembling Fear lets herself be coaxed along.
It’s Pride they call to next – who is preening in the corner by a piece of glass she fancies as a mirror. It is such a poor one that she sees her own imaginings rather than a true representation of herself. Hope and faith, with Fear between them, call to Pride, issuing a challenge that tempts her to follow along.
Again they are at the threshold. They lean in, in, against an almost palpable veil and push their way through. As it gives way, they tumble forward, releasing Fear, who rolls to one side. Pride, too, stumbles a bit – but quickly adjusts her coat with a harrumph.
Hope and faith catch their breath. The meadow where they find themselves is full of beauty – green and lush. It feels like home and heaven at the same time.
Fear sees it a bit differently, looking through her fingers as she shields her eyes from the brightness. Her heart beats quickly, calling under her breath to anger, her closest ally, the flame that hides her vulnerability in flash and thunder. She waits upon the trigger’s edge, listening.
But the meadow sings to her with quiet sounds of a nearby stream. She rises on trembling feet and moves toward the stream where a thin waterfall rushes over a rise and down a rocky slope. Standing by the edge, the spray rests lightly upon Fear, and she is changed, slowly, into Experience. Experience melts into Trust. Her heart still beats fast, but there is a confidence that anchors it a bit. She sits down upon a large boulder by the stream and, feeling the sun upon her shoulders, she releases her clinched fists and finds that she can breathe more slowly, steadily, easily.
Pride first looks around for another mirror. Finding none, she wanders up the slope a bit, to where the stream flows more slowly, having broadened out at the lip of the meadow. Perhaps this will do for a reflection. She straightens her coat – Pride always wears her favorite coat, with brass buttons. She looks down her nose into the pool.
It is not her reflection on the water that she sees. She somehow looks beyond the surface into the depths of the pool and catches a glimpse of an angel who is waiting there to engage her in conversation. An angel is a worthy conversation partner, so Pride agrees to the chat. She sits upon the edge of the pool and dangles her feet in the water, having taken off her shoes.
The touch of her feet upon the water – the rush of cool on the nakedness of skin – clears her head a bit. To her surprise, she finds that she is blushing – ashamed, somehow, of her bluster and bullying. She unbuttons her jacket and sets it aside, despite the fact that her shirt is wrinkled and smudged and a bit tattered at the cuffs. Without the tight constraints of the jacket, she can breathe more easily.
A deeper breath brings a bit more clarity to her vision, and looking down into the pool again, she can see that it is not an angel, but Truth that waits for conversation. It is a hard conversation, in some ways, but invigorating. The face of Pride is changed, the hard patina shattered to reveal, instead, a valued soul. Pride had held herself before a mirror – but Value, instead, is held in love by another, and that is quite enough.
At last I have collected myself on the banks of the stream.
At last I am able to come to You.
At last I can enter Your holy place.
Thank You for waiting.
Thank you for coming.
[slightly modified from a photo by Ford Buchanan per cc 2.0]